Friday, January 29, 2016

The Latest from Barry Eisler - and, boy, is it good

I just finished the ARC for Barry Eisler's latest novel, The God's Eye View.  It hits the bookstores this coming Tuesday, Feb. 2.  In fact, I will be going to the launch at Kepler's (got my tickets a month ago!).

I'm a big fan of Eisler's books (especially the John Rain series), so it was a no-brainer to order this one from Kepler's, where I will pick up my copy and get it signed Tuesday night. In the meantime, I was fortunate enough to have Nicole send me the ARC.  That way, I could read and review it before the event.  I could also then post it on my blog, on Goodreads, and on Amazon.  Of course, it would help if I liked it.  Did I?  That's a resounding YES!  I think it's terrific.

Normally, I quote either the back of the book or the Goodreads synopsis.  I'm not going to do that here.  All I'm going to tell you is that the book centers on Ted Anders, the director of the NSA (National Security Agency); Mike Remar, Anders' right-hand man; Evelyn Gallagher, a computer scientist in the NSA who also has a 4-year old deaf son; and Manus and Delgado, who do jobs for Anders and Remar that don't strictly come under any of our country's laws.

What I'm going to do instead is show you a couple of quotes about the book:

"Eisler has managed to evoke a half-hidden global conflict that is still largely misunderstood even by many of its own participants.  In documenting the parts and making accessible the whole, he has done the public a profound service that goes well beyond entertainment." - Barrett Brown, activist and journalist

"Read this book because it's wildly entertaining.  Respect it because it paints a portrait of America that is more timely, terrifying, and relevant than anything gracing the bestseller lists.  The God's Eye View is one of the most important books that will be published this year." - Blake Crouch, author of Wayward Pines

Intrigued?  Yes?  Good answer.  This is one heckuva interesting premise.  And besides all of that, it's really well-written and very exciting.  I loved it.  I would even say that it's as good as Harlan Coben's best stuff.  Yep.  And I mean that, too.

So, from the quotes I've posted and the comments I've made you can probably guess that The God's Eye View paints a pretty grim picture of the NSA.  It fictionalizes what many people feel is not fiction at all.  And Eisler definitely makes it feel real.  But there's more to the book than that.  For example:

1.  Eisler's book reminds me of the recent movie, The Big Short.  Both of them take great pains NOT to dumb down the material.  We get explanations for events that force us to think.  Sometimes that's tough for me(!), but not this time.
2.  He creates a brutal hit man (Manus) and yet makes us sympathetic toward him.  That's no easy feat.
3.  He brings Evelyn and her son together with Manus and makes us absolutely care about all 3 of them and their relationships with one another.  (You're going to love the baseball scene.)
4.  Eisler made me cry (a fair amount for this type of book), smile, grimace (quite a bit), feel joy, and whoop.  (There's one scene where I actually cried and whooped at the same time!)
5.  Although I've already said this, it bears repeating.  This is an extremely well-written book.  There is tons of drama, and many of the storylines are very clever.  I always appreciate a well-written book that also grabs me emotionally.  Bingo!
6.  If you are under 18, DO NOT READ THIS BULLET POINT.  There is a sex scene in the book that reminded me of Lie Down with Lions by Ken Follett.  And maybe a little bit of the limousine scene in the movie No Way Out.  If you've read the one or seen the other, then you know what I mean!

To recap, get a hold of this book Tuesday (or shortly thereafter).  At least put it near the top of your TBR pile.  I'm telling you that this is an outstanding book.  In fact, I'm going to give it the highest compliment of all - I will be putting The God's Eye View on my Sunday morning, Farmer's Market, recommendation table.  Only the very best enjoy this privilege.  Way to go, Barry.

NOTE OF CAUTION:  There is some pretty graphic violence.  If you are squeamish, you may want to skim through those parts.  Just don't give up on the book because of it.

Barry Eisler spent three years in a covert position with the CIA's Directorate of Operations, then worked as a technology lawyer and startup executive in Silicon Valley and Japan, earning his black belt at the Kodokan International Judo Center along the way. Eisler's bestselling thrillers have won the Barry Award and the Gumshoe Award for Best Thriller of the Year, have been included in numerous "Best Of" lists, and have been translated into nearly twenty languages. Eisler lives in the San Francisco Bay Area and, when he's not writing novels, blogs about torture, civil liberties, and the rule of law.


  1. Wow, you've made this book sound so good. Any book that evokes emotions like that must be well written.

    1. Well-written, but not too literary. A nice combo.

  2. I keep meaning to try his books. They all sound good! Too bad for me this one doesn't fit in with Black History or Romance for this month. ;)

    1. There is some romance in the book. But it's definitely not a romance per se.